World's Biodiversity Declining at an Alarming Rate Print
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Saturday, 21 May 2005 15:08
World's Biodiversity Declining at an Alarming Rate

AP:
MONTREAL - The world's biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, threatening human well-being and future development and requiring important efforts and new thinking on conservation, a sweeping international report released on Thursday says.

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World's Biodiversity Declining at an Alarming Rate
 
 May 20, 2005 - By Phil Couvrette, Associated Press

MONTREAL - The world's biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate,
threatening human well-being and future development and requiring important
efforts and new thinking on conservation, a sweeping international report
released on Thursday says.

 The report is the second of seven reports billed as the world's largest study
of changes to Earth's ecosystems and their impact on humans. It is the result
of five years of collaboration between 1,360 experts from 95 countries around
the world.

 Human activity is responsible for a reduction of biodiversity, which degrades
ecosystems and penalizes other groups of people, especially the poorest who
depend most on them, according to the report presented at McGill University
in Montreal to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity.

 Entitled "Ecosystems and Human Well-being: the Biodiversity Synthesis
Report," it was prepared by the U.N. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment with the
cooperation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 "The loss of biodiversity is a major barrier to development already and poses
increasing risks for future generations," said Walter Reid, the director of
the Millennium Assessment, "However, the report shows that the management
tools, policies, and technologies do exist to dramatically slow this loss."

 According to the report changes in biodiversity due to human activities were
more rapid in the past 50 years than at any time in human history, and over
the last 100 years species extinction caused by humans has multiplied as much
as 1,000 times.

 Some 12 percent of birds; 23 percent of mammals; 25 percent of conifers and
32 percent of amphibians are threatened with extinction, and the world's fish
stocks have been reduced by an astonishing 90 percent since the start of
industrial fishing.

 "We will need to make sure that we don't disrupt the biological web to the
point where collapse of the whole system becomes irreversible," warns Anantha
Kumar Duraiappah, of Canada's International Institute for Sustainable
Development, one of the co-chairs of the report.

 The report notes that while efforts have helped reduce the loss of
biodiversity more action is needed as little progress is foreseen in the
short term.

 "The magnitude of the challenge of slowing the rate of biodiversity loss is
demonstrated by the fact that most of the direct drivers of biodiversity loss
are projected to either remain constant or increase in the near future," the
report says.

 The report blames biodiversity change on a number of factors including
habitat conversion, climate change, pollution and over-exploitation of
resources.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 May 2005 15:08